Monday, April 27, 2009


Cardinals have always been a very special, symbolic bird for me. And since they are more common in the southern parts of this province than here, when I went on my retreat at Easter I was really hoping I might catch a glimpse of one.

Saturday afternoon of the retreat I had quite a bit of spare time, and went for a walk on the hospital grounds next to the convent. There is a shrine garden there - a really nice spot for quiet meditation and reflection. After sitting there for some time, I started to head back. I had been listening to the birds singing, and thought "gee, it sure would be nice if I could just see one cardinal, it would make this retreat time so special". Ask, and ye shall receive. At that very moment, a cardinal flew up into the tree in front of me, looking straight at me. As I breathed prayers of "thank you, thank you", the cardinal flew back into the shrine garden, landing at the base of the cross. I sat back down and stared at it. Then it flew into the tree beside me, and sang to me. We spent at least ten minutes there in that garden, bird and I, before he flew off again. I literally bounced back to the convent, wanting to shout out "I saw a cardinal! I saw a cardinal!" but fortunately remembered this was a silent retreat. Shouting would have been frowned upon.

The next afternoon I returned to the shrine garden to do some writing in my journal. I shared the space with a chipmunk who kept darting back and forth amongst the rocks and bushes. I was naturally hoping to see the cardinal again, just one more time. I hard barely breathed that prayer when he appeared in the tree in front of me. He didn't stay as long this time, but I was just as pleased to see him.

The cardinal affirmed to me that I was in the right place, and that God was with me. That was all I needed.

(image - cardinal - watercolor crayons - April 2009) * o


lucy said...

this is so very lovely! it definitely brought a smile to my face and reminded me of a couple of years ago when blue jays were following me around :-)

Ezra Brooks said...

This is so beautiful. Occasionally the murmur and hum of nature reveals incredible messages if we are ready to hear them and believe. Thank you for the reminder of the wonder that is all around us!

Eveline Maedel said...

Lucy and Ez - thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it :)

Yes, Ez, you are right - nature has some incredible messages. Sometimes, I think I need to remember that "signs" often come in very simple things, they don't always have to whop you upside the head!

Anonymous said...

I love this sharing, Eveline! This happened so many times to me on retreats too. God's way of saying "I am right here with you...".